VIVA THE DIVA
MELBOURNE (AAP): Makybe Diva raced her way into Australian folklore with an unprecedented third Melbourne Cup at Flemington yesterday and was immediately retired from racing.
Owner Tony Santic announced in his victory speech that the mare had run her last race.
Starting favourite at $4.40, Makybe Diva dashed to the front at the 200-metre mark and won by 1-1/4 lengths from On A Jeune ($71) with New Zealander Xcellent ($21) a half-length away third.
The victory was worth $3.1 million dollars and took her career tally to more than $14.5 million, an Australasian record.
"This is Phar Lap the second," an overwhelmed jockey Glen Boss said.
"This is a moment I'll take to my grave ? she's unbelievable.
"She's immortal, mate, it's amazing. She just gives you that feeling every time you ride her.
"She's such a gutsy determined mare. From the mile (1600m) I knew it was all over.
"I got to the front way too soon but I knew nothing was going to come from behind her.
"Throughout the whole race I knew I had done everything right."
In a great riding display, Boss eased Makybe Diva over to one off the fence from her 14 barrier going out of the straight the first time.
He made his move on her approaching the home turn and the champion showed her trademark acceleration to quickly reel in the leaders.
Makybe Diva, owned by South Australian tuna fisherman Santic and named using the initials of five women who work for him, was heavily backed throughout the country. Among the bets landed was $1 million on the nose placed by an anonymous punter earlier this week.
Makybe Diva carried top weight of 58kg, beating by 2.5kg the mares' weight-carrying record she set winning in 2004.
"None of us will ever live long enough to see anything like this again," said trainer Lee Freedman, who endorsed the decision to retire her.
"She means the world to me," said a jubilant Santic. "People try to put her with Phar Lap. Phar Lap's the legend and there'll always be a legend ? she is the new day legend."
Only four other horses have won the Cup twice ? Archer, Peter Pan, Rain Lover and Think Big.
Winning three in a row was considered impossible. Until today.